Darren Turner and his Aston Martin Racing team mate, Jonny Adam, finished the ‘6 Hours of Bahrain’ in fifth position yesterday after fighting back from a mid-race incident that took away their chances of victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship season finale.
Qualifying for the Bahrain round of the WEC ran like clockwork for the #97 crew on Friday evening. Turner set the fastest time during the opening laps and then Adam matched it exactly during his run, sealing pole position for the British duo.
Talking after the qualifying session, Turner said: We needed to get both cars on the front row of the grid. It was important that one of us took the pole to help the #95 crew for their championship bid and that obviously helps with the GT manufacturers title too. It’s going to be a very tough race tomorrow but we couldn’t have asked for a better qualifying session. Jonny’s jumped in and done a fantastic job and I’m really delighted for all of the #97 boys after working so hard to repair the car after Shanghai.”
Turner was at the wheel of the Aston Martin for the start of the six-hour race and despite a good getaway he was jumped by the #51 Ferrari and later the #95 Aston Martin. He set off after the pair and after passing Nicki Thiim in the #95 car he then made a great move on Gianmaria Bruni’s Ferrari to take the lead of the race.
“I got a good run down to Turn One at the start,” said Turner. “Bruni made a good move down the inside and I was very conscious not to trip over Nicki (Thiim) and affect the championship chances of the #95 Aston Martin so then Nicki got past me into Turn Four. It took half a stint to get on the pace of the Ferraris as they were quicker than we expected them to be. Nicki let me past as I was quicker so I could head off and chase Bruni down. I had a really good battle with him and managed to take the lead before the first pit stops.”
From this point on Turner and Adam didn’t look back and started to build up a very comfortable buffer back to the competition. Right on the halfway mark of the race Turner had just handed the car over to Adam when a wheel came off the #97 Aston Martin V8 Vantage, forcing Adam to limp back to the pits.
“My second stint had been harder as we got mixed up a few times in other people’s battles but I was feeling very confident with the car,” he continued. “Unfortunately as Jonny headed out for the his second run we lost a wheel. Thankfully he could get back to the pits so the team could assess the problem, fix it and send him back out, only losing around three minutes."
The team will look into the cause of the incident back at Aston Martin Racing HQ in Banbury but for Turner and Adam that was the end of their fight for victory in Bahrain.
“That was that but we got back out there and kept on pushing,” said Turner. “We managed to claw our way back up to fifth but ultimately it’s a disappointing result for us as we had the pace to win it. It would have been a great way to end the season. On a more positive note, the #95 guys took the drivers and team championships so that was a fantastic way for Aston Martin Racing to finish the year.”